To a pathological liar and malignant narcissist like Donald Trump, his twice repeated inaugural slogan, “America first,” can only mean one thing: “Trump first.” Included in the calculus of Trump uber alles is a peculiar holdover from his days in the sleazy world of New York City property wheeler dealings – before he discovered the easier (and sleazier) world of money laundering for Russian oligarchs – the zero sum game.
Zero sum means, in the deathless words of Gordon Gekko, “somebody wins and somebody loses.” For many practitioners of the art it’s an unfortunate downside to the zero sum game that someone must lose. Not for Trump. For Trump, that there are losers isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. Sometimes for Trump cruelty can be the only reward – and that’s good enough for him.
After Anne Sacoolas, the wife of an American diplomat in Britain, killed Harry Dunn, a 19 year old British motorcyclist, in furtherance of her driving like a moron, she promised British authorities she would remain in England during the investigation. She promptly boarded a plane back to the United States and has there remained, claiming diplomatic immunity.
In a tearful plea, the mother of Harry Dunn asked Donald Trump to return Anne Sacoolas to the United Kingdom so she could learn what happened to her son and justice could be done. In a White House press briefing, Trump accidentally flashed the secret briefing notes pertaining to the accident and they were duly photographed by the press. The notes revealed that Mrs Sacoolas will not be brought back to the UK for trial. Indeed, the notes said, “(If raised) Note, as Secretary Pompeo [the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo] told [Foreign Secretary, Dominic] Raab, that the spouse of the US government employee will not return to the United Kingdom.”
Between cocaine (or adderall) induced sniffs, Trump’s official comments to the press on the matter were (for once) almost conciliatory. But don’t be fooled. Trump is a monster who enjoys even the appearance of noblesse oblige in the service of life-and-death decisions. The answer was already deliberated and judgment rendered before he even said a word about it: Sacoolas will not be returned to the United Kingdom. The mother of the slain youth was understandably disgusted. As hard as it may be to believe, in the zero sum world of Donald Trump, he sees that as a win for him.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.